One Candle Can Light The Whole World Essay Competitions

The winners of QAHN's 2015 Heritage Essay Contest for elementary students have been announced!

Out of the 100 entries we received, the following six students and essays have been selected:


1st Prize ($150 with Certificate)
“Bessie Goldberg”
Noa Goldberg, Grade 6, Gardenview Elementary School, Saint-Laurent, Qc.

The Quebec woman from history that was important to her community was my Great Grandmother Bessie Goldberg-Rajavsky.

Bessie spent her entire life helping others. When she was seven years old, she would get up at three in the morning to help her father deliver milk. She helped hitch the horse to the buggy and would run up the spiralling staircases in her neighbourhood, carrying the heavy milk so her father wouldn't have to.

When Bessie was in her early thirties, she was actively involved in the organizing to bring Jewish families to Canada. Before the outbreak of World War II, Bessie helped smuggle Jewish families from Russia, Germany and later Poland into Canada. This was difficult because the Canadian government at the time were not letting many Jewish families into the country. She would take the train to Halifax and with others pretended to be family, welcoming the new immigrants. This was dangerous because if the authorities found out, Bessie could have gone to jail. She and her friends saved many lives.

Bessie was involved in all sorts of fundraising in her community. As a teenager, Bessie organized a dance to help a neighbour have enough money to fix her roof.

Again fighting racism, Bessie helped sell bricks to raise money to build the Jewish General Hospital so local Jewish people wouldn't have to be put on long waiting lists and so Jewish doctors would have a hospital in Montreal to work at. She also fundraised to create, Maimonides Geriatric Center, the Jewish Hospital of Hope and the Jewish Convalescent Hospital.


2nd Prize ($125 with Certificate)
“Charles Baillairgé"
Lacey Baillairgé, Grade 6, Gardenview Elementary School, Saint-Laurent, Qc.

I have ancestors just like everyone else. One of mine is especially well known for his architecture and is part of our national heritage. I would like to share the story of Charles Baillairgé - my ancestor on my father's side. He was born September 29, 1826 in Quebec City. He was an important part of architecture in Québec and Ottawa.

From a young age, Baillairgé considered architecture as a profession. All his ancestors preferred working as artisan-architects. But Charles' idea came to him from the architecture library that was full of books from Europe. These books were about the responsibility of being an architect. Baillairgé knew what he wanted to do and he went out and did it!

Baillairgé was from a long line of sculptors, painters and architects. He was involved in designing many projects. Three of his works have been designated as National Historic Sites of Canada due to their remarkable architecture. Charles Baillairgé was a fascinating man whose curiosity and talent had an impact on those around him. The creations he left behind such as the Library of Parliament on Parliament Hill, the House of Parliament in Ottawa, Pavillon Charles-Baillairgé in the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and many more are still serving Canadians today.

Charles-Philippe-Ferdinand died May 10, 1906 at the age of 79 years old. His creations live on and continue to be admired today. Next time you visit Québec City, look for the Charles Baillairgé Staircase which connects the basse-ville and the haute-ville. I look for it and run up and down it every time I am in Quebec City.


3rd Prize ($100 with Certificate)
“Greek Orthodox Church”
Pauline Kollias, Grade 6, Gardenview Elementary School, Saint-Laurent, Qc.

In 1968, the Greek community purchased a Pentecostal church and transformed it into a Greek Orthodox Church in the area of Park Extension. They named it “Koimisis tis Theotokou” (Dormition of the Virgin Mary), but was affectionately known as “Panagitsa”. In 1980, my grandparents moved in that area and attended liturgy there every Sunday. Two years later my grandfather was approached by the priest, Father Nicholaos Papageorgiou to help and volunteer at the church. He gladly accepted and worked as a commissioner for 33 years. My mom attended Sunday school and my uncle was an altar boy for many years. My family has been attending services at Panagitsa church for decades.

My parents, my uncle and my aunt were married in that beautiful church. My brother, cousins and I were all baptized there as well. This church means a lot to my family. Especially given the fact that we all said our last goodbye to my grandfather there this year.

Panagitsa is a church where you find serenity. It is filled with so many pieces of religious art and icons. A place where you can pray and find peace during tough times in your life. You can always pass by and light a candle at any time of the day.

On April 13, 2015, the church caught on fire and was destroyed. The entire Greek community was in mourning. It felt like death for all of us. My family broke down in tears. This tragic event will forever remain a scar in our memory and in our hearts. This church held the community together and I hope we will rebuild!


Honourable Mention
"The Chinese Lion Dance"
Justin Lin, Grade 6, Beacon Hill School, Beaconsfield, Qc.

The Chinese lion dance is a tradition that has been around for over a thousand years. It usually takes place around Chinese New Year. Legends say that on the night of New Year’s Eve, an evil demon would come and attack the villagers of a small village. Every year, the villagers suffered because they didn’t know how to defend themselves against this terrible beast. But then one year, a young man had a plan to fight off this demon. The plan was that the villagers would make an item that the demon would be afraid of when it faces a monster that looks similar to it. So they got together and made a demon look-alike known as the “Lion”. On the night of New Year’s Eve, the villagers faced the evil demon with the “Lion” and made loud noises with firecrackers and instruments. The demon was then chased off and the villagers lived in peace. Ever since, the “Lion Dance” became part of the New Year’s celebration. So in Chinatown, the lions would go around brining good luck to everyone. The lions would dance and the “Laughing Man” would play with the lion using lettuce which is called “Chiang”. Then, the lion tries to catch the Laughing Man so he can eat the Chiang, which represents good luck. The Lion Dance comes from China and was brought to Canada so we can celebrate here, with everyone together, as a community.


Honourable Mention
"The Old Stone House of Fisher North"
Maya Jadah, Grade 5, Hemmingford Elementary School, Hemmingford, Qc.

In the War of 1812 a bullet landed in the wall of the second floor of my Uncle Peter’s house on a road called Fisher North in St. Bernard de Lacolle. Later, my father told me some stories about this old stone house. A battle in the War of 1812 was fought only one mile from this house. The Americans who invaded were the ones who shot the bullet.

The house was built in the early 1800’s by Scottish settlers with stone walls two feet thick and this made the window sills deep. People were shorter one-hundred years ago, so the doors are not high enough for people of today to walk through without bending. The floor boards are eighteen inches wide and bent from so many people walking on them for many years.

The farm is covered with high straight stone fences, built by generations of children clearing the fields in the spring. Near the house my dad and uncle found Indian arrow heads.

In the 1930’s alcohol was not allowed in America, so many Americans took the dirt road to this house where the owners of the house knocked out an opening in the wall by the front door to take money from thirsty Americans and give them tickets for homemade alcohol.

Until the 1960’s the only house water came from a hand pump in the kitchen which brought water up from the cistern in the basement where the rain water collected. The cistern was full of creepy things. When my grandparents bought the house in 1960 it still had no plumbing or running water.

World aids day is celebrated every year all over the world on 1st of December to raise the public awareness about AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is a pandemic disease caused due to the infection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The day is celebrated by the government organizations, NGOs, civil society and other health officials by organizing the speeches or forums discussion related to the AIDS.

The President of United States declared an official announcement for World AIDS Day in the year 1995 which was started following by other countries all across the world. According to the rough estimation, around 25 million people died from 1981 to 2007 because of the HIV infection. Even after the access of antiretroviral treatment at many places, around 2 million people (at least 270,000 of total were children) in 2007 were infected with this epidemic disease.

World AIDS Day celebration has become the most recognized health days celebrations internationally. World AIDS Day celebration offers the key opportunity to the health organizations to increase the awareness among people, most possible access to the treatment as well as discussing the preventive measures.

World Aids Day 2018

World Aids Day 2018 would be celebrated at Saturday, on 1st of December.

World Aids Day History

World AIDS Day was first visualized by the Thomas Netter and James W. Bunn in the month of August in 1987. Thomas Netter and James W. Bunn both are the public information officers for the AIDS Global Programme at the WHO (World Health Organization) in Geneva, Switzerland. They had shared their idea about the AIDS day to Dr. Jonathan Mann (Director of the AIDS Global Programme), who had approved the idea and recommended the World AIDS Day observance on 1st of December in the year 1988.

World AIDS Day celebration was decided by them to be celebrated every year on 1st of December accurately. They thought that it should be decided far from the election time, Christmas holidays or other holidays. It should be celebrated during time when people and news media could pay more interest and attention in broadcasting the news all across the world.

The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, also known as the UNAIDS, came into effect in the year 1996 and started promoting worldwide. Instead of being celebrated for only one day, World AIDS Campaign was launched by the UNAIDS in the year 1997 to focus on the AIDS programs, better communications, disease prevention and disease awareness learning for whole year.

In the starting years, the World AIDS Day themes were focused only on the children as well as the young people, which were later recognized as a family disease as any person of any age group can be infected with HIV. Since 2007, the World Aids Day was started symbolizing by an iconic display of AIDS Ribbon by the White House.


World Aids Day Theme

UNAIDS started organizing the World AIDS Day campaign to be celebrated with the particular annual themes for better global awareness about the disease. Following are the list of all the year wise themes of World Aids Day:

> The theme of the year 1988 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Communication”.

> The theme of the year 1989 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Youth”.

> The theme of the year 1990 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Women and AIDS”.

> The theme of the year 1991 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Sharing the Challenge”.

> The theme of the year 1992 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Community Commitment”.

> The theme of the year 1993 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Act”.

> The theme of the year 1994 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “AIDS and the Family”.

> The theme of the year 1995 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Shared Rights, Shared Responsibilities”.

> The theme of the year 1996 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “One World and One Hope”.

> The theme of the year 1997 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Children Living in a World with AIDS”.

> The theme of the year 1998 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Force for Change: World AIDS Campaign with Young People”.

> The theme of the year 1999 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Listen, Learn, Live: World AIDS Campaign with Children and Young People”.

> The theme of the year 2000 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “AIDS: Men Make a Difference”.

> The theme of the year 2001 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “I care. Do you”?

> The theme of the year 2002 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stigma and Discrimination”.

> The theme of the year 2003 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stigma and Discrimination”.

> The theme of the year 2004 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Women, Girls, HIV and AIDS”.

> The theme of the year 2005 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise”.

> The theme of the year 2006 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise-Accountability”.

> The theme of the year 2007 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise- Leadership”.

> The theme of the year 2008 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Stop AIDS: Keep the Promise-Lead-Empower-Deliver”.

> The theme of the year 2009 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Universal Access and Human Rights”.

> The theme of the year 2010 for the World Aids Day campaign was, “Universal Access and Human Rights”.

> The theme from the year 2011 to 2015 for World Aids Day campaign was, “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths”.


World Aids Day Activities

Variety of activities can be done on the day of World Aids day celebration to increase the awareness and distribute the message of the theme of particular year. It is very necessary to increase the awareness among people as they are the main target of the program. Some of the activities are written below:

  • Community based individuals and organizations should be contacted to plan the World AIDS Day activities, to organize a planned meeting. It can be well started from the local clinics, hospitals, social service agencies, schools, AIDS advocacy groups and etc.
  • A single event or sequence of independent events can be determined for better awareness by the speakers and exhibitors through the forums, rallies, health fairs, community events, faith services, parades, block parties and etc.
  • A public statement can be submitted to the agency board identifying the recognition for the World AIDS Day.
  • Red ribbons should be wore or distributed to others to mark the hope to the schools, work sites or community groups. Electronic ribbons can also be distributed to the social media outlets.
  • All the activities (like DVD showings and Aids prevention seminars) of businesses, schools, health care organizations, clergy and local agencies should be encouraged for their great work.
  • A candlelight vigil can be held at the public park or the nearest agency where singers, musicians, dancers, poets, story tellers and etc could distribute the message of Aids prevention through entertaining performances.
  • World AIDS Day information can be distributed by linking it to the web site of your agency.
  • All the planned events and activities should be already distributed through the e-mail, newsletters, mailings or electronic bulletins.
  • People can be aware by displaying the exhibitions, posters, videos, flyers, brochures for HIV/AIDS and etc.
  • World AIDS Day activities can be informed to a large group of people instantly through the blogs, Facebook, Twitter or through the other social media websites.
  • Actively contribute to the other groups of celebrating the World AIDS Day.
  • A candlelight celebration can be held in the memory of died person due to HIV/AIDS.
  • Religious leaders are encouraged to speak something for AIDS intolerance and dishonor.
  • A service can be started to provide the meals, shelter, transportation, companionship for the people with HIV/AIDS. They can also be invited in the social work, worship or other functions to increase their morality.

Objectives of World Aids Day

The purpose of the World Aids Day celebration every year to well support the Member States in order to build up the new and effective policies and programmes, to strengthen the health systems as well as to increase the capacity of health sectors towards HIV/AIDS. Some of the main objectives of the World Aids Day are listed below:

  • To guide the member states for globally increasing the prevention and control measures for HIV/AIDS.
  • To offer the member states a technical support for implementing the plan for prevention, care as well as treatment for HIV/AIDS including the testing, counseling of mother for transmitting the infection to the child, STI control and antiretroviral therapy.
  • To aware people about the antiretroviral medicines or other commodities which can help them to fight against HIV/AIDS.
  • To involve the peer groups in the campaign for getting the most effective result.
  • To encourage more students from the schools, universities and social structures to contribute in the competitions organized for the AIDS.
  • To decrease and control the number of patients infected by HIV/AIDS as well as to encourage the peer groups for condom.

World Aids Day Slogans, Quotes and Messages

“HIV/AIDS has no boundaries”.

“My play Safe Sex was picked apart because critics thought it was untrue. It was a play in which no one had AIDS, but the characters talked about how it was going to change their lives”.

“Small aids to individuals, large aid to masses”.

“AIDS is an absolutely tragic disease. The argument about AIDS’ being some kind of divine retribution is crap”.

“Give a child love, laughter and peace, not AIDS”.

“I know one man who was impotent who gave AIDS to his wife and the only thing they did was kiss”.

“If you judge people you have no time to love them”.

“Let us give publicity to H.I.V./AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and say somebody has died because of H.I.V./AIDS, and people will stop regarding it as something extraordinary”.

“The AIDS is a disease that is hard to talk about”.

“I burned out on AIDS and did no AIDS work for a couple of years. I was so angry that people were still getting this disease that nobody can give you – you have to go out and get it”!

“My son has died of AIDS”.

“Because of the lack of education on AIDS, discrimination, fear, panic, and lies surrounded me”.

“You can’t get AIDS from a hug or a handshake or a meal with a friend”.

“This AIDS stuff is pretty scary. I hope I don’t get it”.

About AIDS

AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) caused by the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which attack the immune system of the human body. The disease was first recognized in the year 1981. It was first identified by the name of AIDS on 27th of July in the year 1982.

HIV infection can be easily transmitted from one person to the other if they have contacted ever directly through the mucous membrane, bodily fluid or blood. In the earlier period, there was a lot of social stigma for the people with HIV/AIDS. According to the estimate, it has been noted that around 33 million people have been infected with the HIV and 2 million people died because of it each year.

HIV is a virus which attacks the T-cells of the immune system and causes the disease known as AIDS. It is found in the human body fluids like blood, semen, vaginal fluids, breast milk of the infected person which can be passed to others by a direct contact like blood transfusion, oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex or injecting contaminated needles. It can be passed to the baby by the pregnant women during delivery or through breast feeding.

It was originated in the 19th and 20th century in the region of west-central Africa. Actually there is no any cure for it but the course of disease can be lessens down by some treatment.

Signs and Symptoms of HIV/AIDS

A person with HIV/AIDS has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Sore throat
  • Sweats during night
  • Enlarged glands
  • Weight loss
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle ache
  • Red rashes

But, in many cases of this disease the initial symptoms are disappeared for many years during which HIV virus cause damages to the immune system which is incurable. The infected person never feels any symptoms during this period and appears healthy.

But, in the late stage of HIV infection (when virus weakens the immune system to fight against it) the person develops illness with AIDS. Person with the late stage infection started showing following signs and symptoms:

  • Blurred vision
  • Permanent tiredness
  • Fever (above 100f)
  • Night sweats
  • Diarrhea (persistent and chronic)
  • Dry cough
  • White spots on the tongue and mouth
  • Swollen glands
  • Weight loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Esophagitis (inflammation of lower esophagus linings)
  • Kaposi sarcoma, cancer of the cervix, lungs, rectum, liver, head, neck and the cancer of immune system (lymphomas).
  • Meningitis, encephalitis and peripheral neuropathy
  • Toxoplasmosis (infection of brain)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Pneumonia

There are some myths which are spread in the society about the AID. Aids never spread through the hand shake, hug, sneeze, unbroken skin touch or the use of same toilet.

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